I'm doing the Thankful Posts on Facebook everyday until Thanksgiving. This is a pretty easy thing for me to do... but it's because I cheat a little. I just take what I was going to say anyway and say I'm thankful for it. Well, mostly.
But today I'm thinking about my childhood and all the reasons I have to be thankful for it.
The town I hail from is abuzz today because of the arrest of a suspected pedophile. The guy is being brought up on charges for relatively recent (alleged) events. But the word on the street is that this stuff has been going on literally for decades. I don't know what the outcome will be. Whatever it is, lives have already been damaged. (I almost wrote destroyed but I have to leave room for repair in there someplace). If even a fraction of it is true... what does that mean? People I grew up with were violated in the most horrific of ways. And now it's their children who are coming forward with recent allegations. What damage have they done to themselves (and possibly others) because of this? And what on earth happened to this man in his youth to make him commit such abominable acts? And.... how lucky am I that I am not among those who suffered?
So, today I am thankful for my childhood and, by direct association, my parents.
I am thankful for a youth unmarred by neglect and abuse.
I am thankful for the hundreds of opportunities afforded to me.
I am thankful for Owego Scamps Gymnastics, which I was encouraged to pursue, despite the financial burden and the incredible time commitment my parents (and siblings) had to sacrifice.
I am thankful that I was also allowed to stop doing gymnastics when I realized it wasn't fun for me anymore. There was no guilt, no disappointment (that I knew of). Only understanding.
I am thankful for volleyball and track, games and meets which were witnessed faithfully by my parents whenever humanly possible.
I am thankful especially for my senior year of track (and Coach Lauren Jordy) which quite literally changed my life forever. Adolescent drama turned to 1500M success turned to (a dozen or so years later) marathon running.
I am thankful for each of my 7 siblings, some of whom challenged me by always being a little bit better at everything than I was, some of whom acted as a cautionary tale(!), and all of whom I've come to understand a little better with every passing year.
I am thankful for a college education, the pursuit of which was never a question of "if" but merely "where". (And no, despite my degree and most of my Masters credits completed, I STILL don't know what I want to major in!)
I am thankful for community theater. Had I not been the daughter of lovers and producers of musicals I don't think anything in my life would be as it is. My husband and a good chunk of my friends are in my life because of the stage. Who on earth would I be? What on earth would I sing? Where on earth would I spend Sunday & Wednesday nights?!
I am thankful for the encouragement I got to pursue music. I had moderate success in choral singing. I was marginal on the saxophone. And the trombone attempt was downright embarrassing. I'm grateful for all of them because it was a chance for me to work at something that did not come easily to me. (Bass clef... why must you be two notches away from everything I know and understand!?)
I am thankful for my exposure to public radio and classical music and The New York Times and Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal and Little Black Sambo and St. Mark's Episcopal Church and homemade bread and The Christmas Elf and letters from Santa and luminaries on Christmas Eve and Fourth of July breakfast bashes and a Mom in grad school and a Grandma who lived next door and Grandparents who lived on a farm and a Grandma who moved in and cousins and the toughness that comes with running track for a high school that doesn't have a track and...
Well, now it just sounds like I'm bragging. So I'll end by saying I am thankful for my childhood.